Denver is rich in diversity from all areas of the globe if you know where to look. Asian cultures from Vietnam, Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand and Japan converge at the Far East Center located at Alameda and Federal making this shopping area a great place to go on a cultural expedition.
The large gift shop that anchors the Center, Troung An Asian Gifts, is a packed with fascinating items from Chinese traditional medicines to lucky wall decorations, Buddha statues, stuffed Totoro dolls, traditional Asian clothing, live bamboo and of course anything you could possibly need to celebrate Chinese New Year (the year of the Rooster begins on 1/28/17). The staff at the store are knowledgeable and friendly, so don’t be shy to ask about the treasures you find there; anyone will be happy to explain the symbolism and give you some cultural insight.
Also in the Far East Center is a fantastic Vietnamese bakery called Vinh Xuong, which is located at the southwest corner of the parking lot. There are so many delicious things to try you may need to make several trips! The friend sesame buns are soft and doughy, lightly sweet and gone in mere seconds they’re so good. The bahn mi sandwiches are a favorite of those in the know, like Yelper Larren, M. who says this about Vinh Xuong: “The marinated pork banh mi is the bomb! Fresh and made on the spot this sandwich has it all. It’s sweet, spicy, bitter, sour, salty and umami, it’s outrageous. The perfect baguette, pickled veggies, marinated pork, salted mayo, and fresh herbs really marry and put it over the top.”
We’re also fans of the moon cakes filled with various kinds of bean pastes and buy them every September for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
Another highlight of a trip to the Far East Center is the Little Saigon Market located along the west side of the parking lot. This Asian grocery store has many intriguing delicacies, so we always try something new whenever we go. If you’re not sure what to try, perhaps just watch what other people are buying and buy the same thing. When considering something in the produce section, don’t be shy about asking other shoppers about how they plan to prepare the items they’ve selected.
Location: 333 S Federal Blvd Denver, CO 80219 (Alameda and Federal)
Hours: Roughly 10a – 7p daily depending on the store
Free? Yes! Well . . . not after you indulge in one of the delicious bakery items or decide to take some fresh bamboo home with you!
Website: Troung An Gifts: www.troungangifts.com
Activities for this Destination:
Chinese New Year Celebration – free and open to the public, check the Troung An website for details on this year’s celebration including lion dance performance times.
Scavenger Hunt for an Asian Market [Asian Mkt Scavenger Hunt]
Chinese New Year Scavenger Hunt [CNY Scavenger Hunt]
Chinese language and Culture Activities and Resources at www. RicePaperKite.com